13651 Indian Paint Ln., Fort Myers, FL, US, 33912
- Phone: (239) 768-0005
- Fax: (239) 768-5458
Arts & Museums
Look for the yellow and green dinosaur next to the water tower and you know you have found Imaginarium, a hands-on science museum for kids of all ages. Try your hand at being a weatherman, excavate a T-Rex in the "dig pit" or chart a course on a boat. The simple explanations make learning fun and easy to understand. There is even a living coral reef and alligator lagoon. Admission is USD8 for adults, USD7 for seniors and USD5 for children under 12. Parking is free.
After tremendous pressure from locals and newspapers, the Southwest Florida Museum of History was finally opened in 1982. Housed inside a dilapidated building inside an old depot, this museum provides visitors a deep insight into the history of Fort Myers. Collections here are centuries old and include artifacts, maps and documents used by herdsmen, settlers and fishermen. Check website for further details.
For anyone who has ever wondered where the "fort" in Fort Myers was, the answer to that question and many others can be found at the Fort Myers Historical Museum. Housed in the restored Atlantic Coast Line Depot, the museum traces the history of the area from prehistoric times to the present day. Exhibits include a Pullman car, a replica of a late 1800s "Cracker" home and a World War II P-39 Cobra. Call ahead to know about admission prices and other details.
Walk among live oaks and lush gardens, relax in a rocking chair on the veranda as you watch the river roll gently by, but first, join Mona and Jettie Burroughs as they share the history and colorful tales of living in one of Fort Myers' oldest homes - The Burroughs Home. Built in 1901, this Georgian Revival Mansion was the scene of many social events that hosted the Fort Myers' elite including the Edisons, Fords, and Firestones. Antique furnishings, historical artifacts, and delightful tales of growing up as the privileged daughters of wealthy businessman Nelson Burroughs and his wife Adeline await visitors who want to take a step back in time. The Burroughs Home has come alive once again under the management of Uncommon Friends Foundation.
Probably the most famous tourist attraction in Fort Myers is the Edison Ford Winter Estates. Inventor Thomas Edison began wintering along the Caloosahatchee River in 1886. In 1916, Edison's friend Henry Ford built his winter home, Mangoes, next door. Both are open to the public and include Edison's botanical gardens and laboratory (just as Edison left it), the largest banyan tree in Florida and a museum. Guided tours are required. Admission is USD12 for adults, USD5.50 for children. The historic electrical boat river tour costs an additional USD4.
Nestled in the Humanities building of the Fort Myers campus of Edison Community College is a find for Southwest Florida art lovers. The Gallery of Fine Art houses temporary exhibitions of contemporary artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Stephanie Brody Lederman, among other nationally and internationally renowned artists. In addition, there are exhibits and receptions for local artists like Kathleen Holmes. The Gallery is open to the public and is free. Parking lot, off Summerlin Road, is in front of the building and is open to the public.
Kids (and adults) can enjoy hands-on learning at The Children's Science Center, in Cape Coral. Indoor and outdoor exhibits are educational as well as fun, and include electricity, fossils, optical illusions, live reptiles, mazes, a butterfly garden, and a nature trail. Astronomy nights, where kids can gaze through giant telescopes, run from January-April. For astronomy nights, wear long sleeves, pants, socks, close-toed shoes and a jacket, and bring mosquito repellant. The Science Center also has a gift shop and picnicking.
Cape Coral only became a city in 1957, but they still have a historical museum. The Cape Coral Historical Museum traces the history of the area, as well as its incorporation to the fastest growing city in Lee County. Exhibits and video explain early Cape Coral (and old Waltzing Waters), and include photos, artifacts from the Cape Coral Rose Garden, a collection of WWII lead soldiers, and a replica of a "cracker" house.
The Ostego Bay Foundation's mission is to promote understanding of marine life and the delicate balance of marine ecosystems through education and community involvement. At the Marine Science Center, exhibits, touch tanks and aquariums introduce visitors to marine life. There are also exhibits on fossils, shells and endangered species. The Science Center offers a walking tour that includes the Center, the Coast Guard station, the waterfront and shrimp boats, and explains how the industry works. Parking is free under the bridge.
The Sanibel Gallery is the oldest gallery on the island, and features local artists and craftspeople whose work "reflects the essence of the islands." Located in Heart of the Islands Plaza, the gallery features over 170 artists who present their art in a variety of mediums. The artwork reflects the nature of Sanibel and includes watercolors by Tom Bond, oils by Milvi Wheeler, as well as acrylic, silkscreen, and pen and ink. The crafts include wood, copper, pottery, mosaic, porcelain, and the annual Sanibel Christmas ornament
BIG ARTS, which stands for Barrier Island Group for the Arts, is a cultural organization presenting everything from Jazz and Brahms concerts to classes in pottery. There are over 160 workshops and 20 concerts every year, as well as films and lectures. The BIG ARTS has a dance studio, art galleries and sculpture garden. Most events have a fee. Reservations for events and classes are necessary.
"Before it was Art, it was Life," describes the Fine Tribal Art on display and for sale at Aboriginals: Art of the First Person in Sanibel. Gallery owners Susanne and William Waites have traveled and lived where the art originated, and are happy to answer all questions and explain the symbolism and history of the art. The art includes one-of-a-kind pottery, basketry, weavings, masks, carvings and jewelry from West and Central Africa, Central and North Australia, Papua New Guinea and the North American Southwest, Plains, Woodlands and Arctic.